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What is Fascism?

From: NLG Civil Liberties Committee

Sept. 27, 1992 by Chip Berlet

This article is adapted from the author's preface to Russ Bellant's book "Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party," co-published by South End Press and Political Research Associates.

"Fascism, which was not afraid to call itself reactionary... does not hesitate to call itself illiberal and anti-liberal."

_Benito Mussolini

We have all heard of the Nazis_but our image is usually a caricature of a brutal goose-stepping soldier wearing a uniform emblazoned with a swastika. Most people in the U.S. are aware that the U.S. and its allies fought a war against the Nazis, but there is much more to know if one is to learn the important lessons of our recent history.

Technically, the word NAZI was the acronym for the National Socialist German Worker's Party. It was a fascist movement that had its roots in the European nationalist and socialist movements, and that developed a grotesque biologically-determinant view of so-called "Aryan" supremacy. (Here we use "national socialism" to refer to the early Nazi movement before Hitler came to power, sometimes termed the "Brownshirt" phase, and the term "Nazi" to refer to the movement after it had consolidated around ideological fascism.)

The seeds of fascism, however, were planted in Italy. "Fascism is reaction," said Mussolini, but reaction to what? The reactionary movement following World War I was based on a rejection of the social theories that formed the basis of the 1789 French Revolution, and whose early formulations in this country had a major influence on our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

It was Rousseau who is best known for crystallizing these modern social theories in . The progeny of these theories are sometimes called Modernism or Modernity because they challenged social theories generally accepted since the days of Machiavelli. The response to the French Revolution and Rousseau, by Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and others, poured into an intellectual stew which served up Marxism, socialism, national socialism, fascism, modern liberalism, modern conservatism, communism, and a variety of forms of capitalist participatory democracy.

Fascists particularly loathed the social theories of the French Revolution and its slogan: "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."

*** Liberty from oppressive government intervention in the daily lives of its citizens, from illicit searches and seizures, from enforced religious values, from intimidation and arrest for dissenters; and liberty to cast a vote in a system in which the majority ruled but the minority retained certain inalienable rights.

*** Equality in the sense of civic equality, egalitarianism, the notion that while people differ, they all should stand equal in the eyes of the law.

*** Fraternity in the sense of the brotherhood of mankind. That all women and men, the old and the young, the infirm and the healthy, the rich and the poor, share a spark of humanity that must be cherished on a level above that of the law, and that binds us all together in a manner that continuously re-affirms and celebrates life.

This is what fascism as an ideology was reacting against_and its support came primarily from desperate people anxious and angry over their perception that their social and economic position was sinking and frustrated with the constant risk of chaos, uncertainty and inefficiency implicit in a modern democracy based on these principles. Fascism is the antithesis of democracy. We fought a war against it not half a century ago; millions perished as victims of fascism and champions of liberty.

"One of the great lies of this century is that in the 1930's Generalissimo Franco in Spain was primarily a nationalist engaged in stopping the Reds. Franco was, of course, a fascist who was aided by Mussolini and Hitler."

"The history of this period is a press forgery. Falsified news manipulates public opinion. Democracy needs facts.

_George Seldes Hartland Four Corners, Vermont, March 5, 1988

Fascism was forged in the crucible of post-World War I nationalism in Europe. The national aspirations of many European peoples_nations without states, peoples arbitrarily assigned to political entities with little regard for custom or culture_had been crushed after World War I. The humiliation imposed by the victors in the Great War, coupled with the hardship of the economic Depression, created bitterness and anger. That anger frequently found its outlet in an ideology that asserted not just the importance of the nation, but its unquestionable primacy and central predestined role in history.

In identifying "goodness" and "superiority" with "us," there was a tendency to identify "evil" with "them." This process involves scapegoating and dehumanization. It was then an easy step to blame all societal problems on "them," and presuppose a conspiracy of these evildoers which had emasculated and humiliated the idealized core group of the nation. To solve society's problems one need only unmask the conspirators and eliminate them.

In Europe, Jews were the handy group to scapegoat as "them." Anti- Jewish conspiracy theories and discrimination against Jews were not a new phenomenon, but most academic studies of the period note an increased anti-Jewish fervor in Europe, especially in the late 1800's. In France this anti-Jewish bias was most publicly expressed in the case of Alfred Dreyfus, a French military officer of Jewish background, who in 1894 was falsely accused of treason, convicted (through the use of forged papers as evidence) and imprisoned on Devil's Island. Zola led a noble struggle which freed Dreyfus and exposed the role of anti-Jewish bigotry in shaping French society and betraying the principles on which France was building its democracy.

Not all European nationalist movements were necessarily fascist, although many were. In some countries much of the Catholic hierarchy embraced fascist nationalism as a way to counter the encroachment of secular influences on societies where previously the church had sole control over societal values and mores. This was especially true in Slovakia and Croatia, where the Clerical Fascist movements were strong, and to a lesser extent in Poland and Hungary. Yet even in these countries individual Catholic leaders and laity spoke out against bigotry as the shadow of fascism crept across Europe. And in every country of Europe there were ordinary citizens who took extraordinary risks to shelter the victims of the Holocaust. So religion and nationality cannot be valid indicators of fascist sentiment. And the Nazis not only came for the Jews, as the famous quote reminds us, but for the communists and the trade union leaders, and indeed the Gypsies, the dissidents and the homosexuals. Nazism and fascism are more complex than popular belief. What, then, is the nature of fascism?

Italy was the birthplace of fascist ideology. Mussolini, a former socialist journalist, organized the first fascist movement in 1919 at Milan. In 1922 Mussolini led a march on Rome, was given a government post by the king, and began transforming the Italian political system into a fascist state. In 1938 he forced the last vestige of democracy, the Council of Deputies, to vote themselves out of existence, leaving Mussolini dictator of fascist Italy.

Yet there were Italian fascists who resisted scapegoating and dehumanization even during World War II. Not far from the area where Austrian Prime Minister Kurt Waldheim is accused of assisting in the transport of Jews to the death camps, one Italian General, Mario Roatta, who had pledged equality of treatment to civilians, refused to obey the German military order to round up Jews. Roatta said such an activity was "incompatible with the honor of the Italian Army."

Franco's fascist movement in Spain claimed state power in 1936, although it took three years, the assistance of the Italian fascists and help from the secretly reconstituted German Air Force finally to crush those who fought for democracy. Picasso's famous painting depicts the carnage wrought in a Spanish village by the bombs dropped by the forerunner of the which all too soon would be working on an even larger canvas. Yet Franco's fascist Spain never adopted the obsession with race and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories that were hallmarks of Hitler's Nazi movement in Germany.

Other fascist movements in Europe were more explicitly racialist, promoting the slogan still used today by some neo-Nazi movements: "Nation is Race." The Nazi racialist version of fascism was developed by Adolph Hitler who with six others formed the Nazi party during 1919 and 1920. Imprisoned after the unsuccessful 1923 Beer Hall putsch in Munich, Hitler dictated his opus, to his secretary, Rudolph Hess.

(My Battle) sets out a plan for creating in Germany through national socialism a racially pure state. To succeed, said Hitler, "Aryan" Germany had to resist two forces: the external threat posed by the French with their bloodlines "negrified" through "contamination by Negro blood," and the internal threat posed by "the Marxist shock troops of international Jewish stock exchange capital." Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany by Hindenburg in January 1933 and by year's end had consolidated his power as a fascist dictator and begun a campaign for racialist nationalism that eventually led to the Holocaust.

This obsession with a racialism not only afflicted the German Nazis, but also several eastern European nationalist and fascist movements including those in Croatia, Slovakia, Serbia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine. Anti-Jewish bigotry was rampant in all of these racialist movements, as was the idea of a link between Jewish financiers and Marxists. Even today the tiny Anti-communist Confederation of Polish Freedom Fighters in the U.S.A. uses the slogan "Communism is Jewish."

"Reactionary concepts plus revolutionary emotion result in Fascist mentality."

_Wilhelm Reich

One element shared by all fascist movements, racialist or not, is the apparent lack of consistent political principle behind the ideology_political opportunism in the most basic sense. One virtually unique aspect of fascism is its ruthless drive to attain and hold state power. On that road to power, fascists are willing to abandon any principle to adopt an issue more in vogue and more likely to gain converts.

Hitler, for his part, committed his act of abandonment bloodily and dramatically. When the industrialist power brokers offered control of Germany to Hitler, they knew he was supported by national socialist ideologues who held views incompatible with their idea of profitable enterprise. Hitler solved the problem in the "Night of the Long Knives," during which he had the leadership of the national socialist wing of his constituency murdered in their sleep.

What distinguishes Nazism from generic fascism is its obsession with racial theories of superiority, and some would say, its roots in the socialist theory of proletarian revolution.

Fascism and Nazism as ideologies involve, to varying degrees, some of the following hallmarks:

*** Nationalism and super-patriotism with a sense of historic mission.

*** Aggressive militarism even to the extent of glorifying war as good for the national or individual spirit.

*** Use of violence or threats of violence to impose views on others (fascism and Nazism both employed street violence and state violence at different moments in their development).

*** Authoritarian reliance on a leader or elite not constitutionally responsible to an electorate.

*** Cult of personality around a charismatic leader.

*** Reaction against the values of Modernism, usually with emotional attacks against both liberalism and communism.

*** Exhortations for the homogeneous masses of common folk (Volkish in German, Populist in the U.S.) to join voluntarily in a heroic mission_often metaphysical and romanticized in character.

*** Dehumanization and scapegoating of the enemy_seeing the enemy as an inferior or subhuman force, perhaps involved in a conspiracy that justifies eradicating them.

*** The self image of being a superior form of social organization beyond socialism, capitalism and democracy.

*** Elements of national socialist ideological roots, for example, ostensible support for the industrial working class or farmers; but ultimately, the forging of an alliance with an elite sector of society.

*** Abandonment of any consistent ideology in a drive for state power.

It is vitally important to understand that fascism and Nazism are not biologically or culturally determinant. Fascism does not attach to the gene structure of any specific group or nationality. Nazism was not the ultimate expression of the German people. Fascism did not end with World War II.

After Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies, the geopolitical landscape of Europe was once again drastically altered. In a few short months, some of our former fascist enemies became our allies in the fight to stop the spread of communism. The record of this transformation has been laid out in a series of books. U.S. recruitment of the Nazi spy apparatus has been chronicled in books ranging from by Hohne & Zolling, to the recent by Simpson. The laundering of Nazi scientists into our space program is chronicled in by Bowers. The global activities of, and ongoing fascist role within, the World Anti-Communist League were described in by Anderson and Anderson. Bellant's bibliography cites many other examples of detailed and accurate reporting of these disturbing realities.

But if so much is already known of this period, why does journalist and historian George Seldes call the history of Europe between roughly 1920 and 1950 a "press forgery"? Because most people are completely unfamiliar with this material, and because so much of the popular historical record either ignores or contradicts the facts of European nationalism, Nazi collaborationism, and our government's reliance on these enemies of democracy to further our Cold War foreign policy objectives.

This widely-accepted, albeit misleading, historical record has been shaped by filtered media reports and self-serving academic revisionism rooted in an ideological preference for those European nationalist forces which opposed socialism and communism. Since sectors of those nationalist anti-communist forces allied themselves with political fascism, but later became our allies against communism, for collaborationists became the rule, not the exception.

Soon, as war memories dimmed and newspaper accounts of collaboration faded, the fascists and their allies re-emerged cloaked in a new mantle of respectability. Portrayed as anti-communist freedom fighters, their backgrounds blurred by time and artful circumlocution, they stepped forward to continue their political organizing with goals unchanged and slogans slightly repackaged to suit domestic sensibilities.

To fight communism after World War II, our government forged a tactical alliance with what was perceived to be the lesser of two evils_and as with many such bargains, there has been a high price to pay.

"The great masses of people. . .will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one."

_Adolph Hitler

Subject: More on the Rockford Institute issue

Originator: pierce@lanai.cs.ucla.edu

Date: Thu, 8 Oct 92 16:59:02 GMT

______- FORWARDED POSTING______- written by Chip Berlet _____

From: NLG Civil Liberties Committee

Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy

Date: 07 Oct 92 20:48 PDT

Subject: Re: Berlet vs. Dallas Morning News (wa

Message-ID: <1299600092@igc.apc.org>

In the original posting I wrote that Stockdale was a current Board Member of the Rockford Institute. Stockdale resigned in 1989. I apologize for the error which was picked up from a reporter who misunderstood the Hoover/Rockford sequence. Stockdale was on the Rockford board during the Neuhaus controversy where the issues of racial insensitivity and anti-Semitism first surfaced.

More information on the Rockford Institute, Stockdale, the Paleocons, and the Perot campaign

- - - - - - PLEASE NOTE: My original posting suggested that Stockdale needed to answer some tough questions about his service on the Board of Directors of Rockford. Many people seem to have lost sight of that key point. This is a fair issue to raise about someone running for vice-president.- - - - - -

The Rockford Institute feud where the staff in New York was tossed out for raising issues of racial tolerance was covered in the , May 16, 1989 (pp. 1,8). Perot's running mate Stockdale was on the Board of Directors of Rockford in 1989. Theologian Rev. Richard John Neuhaus and his staff at the Center for Religion and Society were fired and locked out of their offices.

>From the :"The raid on the center's office was provoked by Pastor Neuhaus's complaint, supported by a number of leading conservative figures, that the Rockford Institute's monthly publication, , was tilting toward views favoring native-born citizens and values and that it was `insensitive to the classic language of antiSemitism.'"

"Pastor Neuhaus and his Center for Religion and Society have become symbols of the neo-conservative side of the argument, standing opposite the center's parent organization, the Rockford Institute."

To unravel the background of the dispute takes a political scorecard. The Rockford Institute and rightists like Pat Buchanan are allied with reactionary and hard-line rightist forces in the U.S. The more moderate of these hard-right forces sometimes are called paleo-conservatives or "Paleocons" due to their ties to the "Old Right" in the United States. The farthest fringe of this circle is populated by persons who reflect a racial-nationalist or even neo-fascist viewpoint. Buchanan networks across the spectrum of the hard-right, from Paleocon to neo-Fascist. Racism and anti-Jewish bigotry were common themes in some (although not all) Old Right groups.

Buchanan endorsed the work of the Rockford Institute after the Neuhaus incident. In his January 25, 1990 newsletter, Buchanan penned what was in essence an ode to fascism which celebrated the efficiency of autocracy, and concluded with the line, "If the people are corrupt, the more democracy, the worse the government." The column also echoed historically racialist themes.The "Neocons," the neo-conservative movement in the United States for over ten years quietly tolerated more than a little anti-democratic authoritarianism, anti-Jewish bigotry, and racism from their tactical allies on the Paleocon right. Their alliance was based on shared support for militant anti-communism, celebration of unfettered free enterprise, calls for high levels of U.S. spending on the U.S. military, and support for a militarily strong Israel dominated by hard-line ultraconservative political parties that would stand as a bulwark against communism in the Middle East.

Since there are some high-profile Jews in the intellectual leadership of the neo-conservative movement, some persons have concluded that neo-conservatism is a Jewish ideology. This is a prejudiced assertion, and it is at the heart of much of the Neocon/Paleocon dispute, with the Paleocons repeatedly making bigotted references about the people who "control" the Neocon movement and charge them with "anti-Semitism" and "nativism." See for example the June 1992 , which defends the Paleocons.

For a look at the Neocon view of Buchanan and the Rockford crowd see the May 1992 issues of published by Neuhaus ("The Year that Conservatism Turned Ugly"), and ("Buchanan and the Conservative Crackup").

Fascist political movements are experiencing a resurgence around the world. In the United States, the 1992 presidential campaigns of David Duke, Patrick Buchanan, and H. Ross Perot echoed different elements of historic fascism.

Duke's neo-Nazi past resonates, in a consciously sanitized form, in his current formulations of white supremacist and anti-Jewish political theories. Duke has embraced key elements of the neoNazi Christian Identity religion.

Buchanan's theories of isolationist nationalism and xenophobia hearken back to the proto-fascist ideas of the 1930's America First movement and its well-known promoters, Charles Lindbergh and Father Charles Coughlin. In his Republican convention speech, Buchanan eerily invoked Nazi symbols of blood, soil and honor.

Perot's candidacy provided us with a contemporary model of the fascist concept of the organic leader, the "Man on a White Horse" whose strong egocentric commands are seen as reflecting the will of the people.

These three candidacies were played out as the Bush Administration pursued its agenda of a managed corporate economy, a repressive national security state, and an aggressive foreign policy based on military threat, all of which borrows heavily from the theories of corporatism, authoritarianism, and militarism adopted by Italian fascism.

Duke, Buchanan, and Perot all feed on the politics of resentment, alienation, frustration, anger and fear. Their supporters tended to blame our vexing societal problems on handy scapegoats and they sought salvation from a strong charismatic leader. See the prescient article on "The Politics of Frustration" by conservative Republican analyst Kevin Phillips in April 12, 1992, pp. 38-42. In this article, Phillips, (remember, he is an anti-Bush conservative Republican) raises the issue of similarity between the current campaign and the Weimar period in Germany when the fascists were organizing under the banner of national socialism and popular discontent.

There are other strains of fascism active today. While much attention has been paid to the more extreme biologicaldeterminist neo-Nazi groups such as racist skinheads, there has also been steady growth in other forms of Fascism. Corporatism (sometimes called corporativism) and the economic nationalist branch of fascism are being revived. In Eastern Europe, racial nationalism, a key component of fascism, has surfaced in many new political parties, and is a driving force behind the tragic bloodletting and drive for "ethnic cleansing" in the former nation of Yugoslavia. Other pillars of fascism such as racism, xenophobia, anti-Jewish theories and anti-immigrant scapegoating provide a sinister backdrop for increasing physical assaults on people of color and lesbians and gay men.

Further complicating matters is the reemergence in Europe of fascist ideologies that promote concepts of racial nationalism: a national socialist strain of fascist ideology called the Third Position or Third Way, and its more intellectual aristocratic ally called the European New Right (Nouvelle Droit) For a brilliant short essay on the rise of the Nouvelle Droit see "Pogroms Begin in the Mind" by Wolfgang Haug, a transcribed lecture with a challenging introduction by Janet Biehl ( May 1992, P.O. Box 111, Burlington, Vermont 05402.) Intellectual leaders of the European New Right, such as Alain de Benoist, are hailed as profound thinkers in U.S. reactionary publications such as the Rockford Institute's . The more overtly neo-Nazi segment of the Third Position has intellectual links to the Strasserite wing of German national socialism, and is critical of Hitler's brand of Nazism for having betrayed the working class. See magazines such as or published in England. Third Position groups believe in a racially-homogeneous decentralized tribal form of nationalism, and claim to have evolved an ideology "beyond communism and capitalism."

Third Position adherents actively seek to recruit from the left. One such group is the American Front in Portland, Oregon, which runs a phone hotline that in late November, 1991 featured an attack on critics of left/right coalitions. White supremacist leader Tom Metzger promotes Third Position politics in his newspaper which stands for White Aryan Resistance. Third Position themes have surfaced in the ecology movement and other movements championed by progressives.Conspiracism and scapegoating go hand-in-hand, and both are key ingredients of the fascist phenomenon. Fascism is difficult to define succinctly. As Roger Scruton observes in "A Dictionary of Political Thought," fascism is "An amalgam of disparate conceptions." (Scruton, Roger. "A Dictionary of Political Thought," London: The Macmillan Press, 1982, p. 169)

Scruton:

"[Fascism is] more notable as a political phenomenon on which diverse intellectual influences converge than as a distinct idea; as political phenomenon, one of its most remarkable features has been the ability to win massive popular support for ideas that are expressly anti-egalitarian."

"Fascism is characterized by the following features (not all of which need be present in any of its recognized instances): nationalism; hostility to democracy, to egalitarianism, and to the values of the enlightenment; the cult of the leader, and admiration for his special qualities; a respect for collective organization, and a love of the symbols associated with it, such as uniforms, parades and army discipline."

"The ultimate doctrine contains little that is specific, beyond an appeal to energy, and action."

Another way to look at fascism is as a movement of extreme racial or cultural nationalism, combined with economic corporatism and authoritarian autocracy; masked during its rise to state power by pseudo-radical populist appeals to overthrow a conspiratorial elitist regime; spurred by a strong charismatic leader whose reactionary ideas are said to organically express the will of the masses who are urged to engage in a heroic collective effort to attain a metaphysical goal against the machinations of a scapegoated demonized adversary.

In any case, in most definitions of fascism the themes of conspiracism and a needed scapegoat emerge.

In recent years the four main centers of paranoid conspiracism and scapegoating on the right have been the John Birch Society, the Liberty Lobby, the LaRouchians, and the right-wing Christian fundamentalist sector of the movement known as the New Right.

The most useful general sources of information on U.S. right-wing conspiracy theories and the basis for understanding the role of reductionism and scapegoating in these movements are: Richard Hofstadter, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" (New York: Knopf, 1965); George Johnson, "Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics" (Los Angeles: Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin, 1983); and Frank P. Mintz, "The Liberty Lobby and the American Right: Race, Conspiracy, and Culture" (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1985).

For a lengthy discussion of scapegoating and witch hunts, see the September/October issue of with a special section on "Credulity, Superstition, and Fanaticism,> which includes the author's article on the far right's scapegoating of secular humanism.

For a deeper understanding of fascism and its use of scapegoating, see: A. J. Nichols, "Weimar and the Rise of Hitler" (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979), Daniel Guerin, "Fascism and Big Business" (New York: Monad Press/Pathfinder, 1973), James Joes, "Fascism in the Contemporary World: Ideology, Evolution, Resurgence" (Boulder: Westview, 1978).>

-Chip Berlet, analyst Political Research Associates 678

Massachusetts Ave, #702 Cambridge, MA 02139

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From cs.ubc.ca!destroyer!caen!uwm.edu!linac!pacific.mps.ohio-state.edu!o hstpy!miavx1!miamiu!pmschull Fri Oct 9 12:25:24 PDT 1992 Article: 11680 of alt.activism

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References: <9209301854.AA02095@igc.apc.org> <1296500400@igc.apc.org> Organization: Miami University - Academic Computer Service

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So according to Chip "fascism" is a term which "has little in common" from application to application. In other words: a term with no denotation, only connotation. That is, a purely propagandistic term. Suitable for old Chip. And his attacks on LaRouche. On Reason. Etc .

But if one looks at Fiscism Germany, Fascism Italy, Fascist Bulgaria, etc. etc. one can_if one uses one's intellect_see the essential identity: an intense degree of austerity. The slave labor camps of the NaZis (wherein the Slave Workers were worked to death in 30 - 270 days, depending on the era and place_longer life expectancies early, 1933, in German less later, 1940s Poland) were most salient. But Mussolini had an "Environmentalist Project" to empty the cities (copied by Pol Pot) which he went a large way in doing. Hundreds of thousands of people were relocated to caves. While few ate cooked food in Italy in the late 1920s, the massive debt to the bankers was paid off quickly. (Cf. "Literary Digest" April 1928.) Bulgaria put about 12% of proceeds from sales of industrial goods into wages and reinvestment_the rest going primarily to financiers, to German stockholders, etc. Quoting from a "Know-Nothing" dictionary of terms does not alter the facts of history.

From cs.ubc.ca!destroyer!caen!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!menudo.uh.edu!cc svax.sfasu.edu!f_gautjw Sun Oct 11 20:51:52 PDT 1992 Article: 11766 of alt.activism

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In article <1296500400@igc.apc.org>, NLG Civil Liberties Committee writes: >

Thank you for posting your definition(s) of fascism. While helping me to better understand your broadbrush use of the term fascism, the definition(s) also raise some new questions.

State-enforced austerity is not a central characteristic of > fascism.

I find this to be an unusual statement. Prosperity has never exactly been the hallmark of fascist regimes and economics is "central" to any form of government. Certainly a fascist regime uses pressure to enforce its state policies, so why wouldn't state-enforced austerity be a central characteristic of fascism?

Fascism

Chip's definition:

Extreme racial or cultural nationalism combined with economic> corporatism and authoritarian autocracy; masked during its rise to > state power by pseudo-radical populist appeals to overthrow a > conspiratorial elitist regime; spurred by a strong charismatic > leader whose reactionary ideas are said to organically express the > will of the masses who are urged to engage in a heroic collective > effort to attain a metaphysical goal against the machinations of a > scapegoated demonized adversary.

This definition raises certain questions. Do you consider nationalism inherently evil? Would you prefer a one-world government? Do you feel that appreciating and defending one's own culture and cultural values are somehow primitive instincts that must be overcome by the educational efforts of the enlightened egalitarians?

Why the "pseudo" in pseudo-radical populist appeals?

What strong charismatic leaders do you see in America today and which ones do you fear? What "metaphysical" goals do they propose? Can you name any modern day American scapegoated demonized adversaries other than the remnants of Randy Weaver's family and other small religious groups who would like most of all to be left alone?

> Definition excepted from "A Dictionary of Political Thought" by

> Roger Scruton. (The Macmillan Press, London, 1982, p. 169)

> "An amalgam of disparate conceptions...more notable as a political > phenomenon on which diverse intellectual influences converge than > as a distinct idea; as political phenomenon, one of its most > remarkable features has been the ability to win massive popular > support for ideas that are expressly anti-egalitarian."

> "Fascism is characterized by the following features (not all of which need be present in any of its recognized instances):

nationalism; hostility to democracy, to egalitarianism, and to the values of the enlightenment; the cult of the leader, andadmiration for his special qualities; a respect for collectiveorganization, and a love of the symbols associated with it, suchas uniforms, parades and army discipline."

"The ultimate doctrine contains little that is specific, beyond an appeal to energy, and action."

Frankly, I think the first definition says much more than the second "amalgam" definition which seems so non-specific as to include anyone desired. When you use the word *fascist* are you alluding to the first or to both definitions?

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State-enforced austerity is not a central characteristic of fascism.

Fascism

Chip's definition:

Extreme racial or cultural nationalism combined with economic corporatism and authoritarian autocracy; masked during its rise to state power by pseudo-radical populist appeals to overthrow a conspiratorial elitist regime; spurred by a strong charismatic leader whose reactionary ideas are said to organically express the will of the masses who are urged to engage in a heroic collective effort to attain a metaphysical goal against the machinations of a scapegoated demonized adversary.

Definition excepted from "A Dictionary of Political Thought" by Roger Scruton. (The Macmillan Press, London, 1982, p. 169)

"An amalgam of disparate conceptions...more notable as a political phenomenon on which diverse intellectual influences converge than as a distinct idea; as political phenomenon, one of its most remarkable features has been the ability to win massive popular support for ideas that are expressly anti-egalitarian."

"Fascism is characterized by the following features (not all of which need be present in any of its recognized instances): nationalism; hostility to democracy, to egalitarianism, and to the values of the enlightenment; the cult of the leader, and admiration for his special qualities; a respect for collective organization, and a love of the symbols associated with it, such as uniforms, parades and army discipline."

"The ultimate doctrine contains little that is specific, beyond an appeal to energy, and action."


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